When Winnebago Lutheran Academy’s Maustin Otterstatter is on the mound, the rest of the Viking offense feels at ease.
When they score early like they did in Tuesday’s game against St. Mary’s Springs, they feel even better.
The Vikings scored four runs in the top of the first and never lost that lead and won 12-3 in a game played at Marian College.
“When you get a four run lead and the team knows Maustin is on the mound, it really makes it easy to swing to get a couple of more runs,” WLA head coach Mike Seibel said.
The Vikings had the bats ready to go to start the game, after leadoff singles by Austin Wright and Kevin Seibel set up an opportunity for Ryan Boelk to drive in the pair of runs to jump out to a 2-0 lead.
Lucas Muche would drive in the third run and then Brandon Schilling would ground out, driving in Muche to make it 4-0.
The Ledgers would respond right away with a leadoff home run by Eric Feldner and after Evan Henderson reached on an error, another error on a double-play attempt would score Henderson to cut the lead to 4-2.
“Eric got a nice pitch up in the zone and he hit my mistake,” Otterstatter said about the leadoff home run. “We had a few more errors in the field but after that the rest of the team buckled down.”
That they did.
Otterstatter would strike out the side in the second inning and the Vikings would rack up three more in the third off a three-run double from Justin Serwe to make it 7-2.
“What I saw was when we got four in the top of the first, Maustin sat a really long time from the time we warmed up until the first time he went out there in the first inning,” Seibel said of Otterstatter’s struggle in the first. “He really started to get into a better rhythm after he got into three batters.”
Otterstatter picked up the win and went four innings and only allowed one hit after the first inning. He also struck out five.
The senior would pick it up offensively where they left it off in the third, driving in the first run in the top of the fourth with a single. After loading up the bases, Boelk was hit by a pitch to bring in the second run of the inning, and a balk followed by an RBI single from Schilling would increase the lead to 11-2.
“Today [Springs] wasn’t throwing too many guys with a lot of velocity and they didn’t have the greatest junk but we were doing a nice job of putting the bat on the ball and it was nice to see,” Otterstatter said.
Lucas Muche went in for Otterstatter in the fifth and threw two shut out innings to close the game.
“He’s only a freshman and he is one of those guys that we can count on to throw strikes,” Seibel said. “He has good natural movement on his fastball but the more he gets comfortable working in a slider and curveball, he’s going to be a big part of our rotation before the season is over.”
Evan Henderson suffered the loss for the Ledgers, going three innings, giving up seven runs on six hits.
Feldner led the way for Springs with a 2-for-4 performance including a home run and an RBI.
For the Vikings, Austin Wright, Otterstatter, and Muche led the way with two hits each. Serwe led the way with three RBIs.
WLA and Springs will face up again on Thursday, this time at WLA. Seibel said he knows that matchup will be tougher because the Ledgers have saved up some pitchers for the meeting.
WLA…403 400 1 — 12 x13 3
Springs 200 001 0 — 3 7 1
WP: Maustin Otterstatter (4 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BBs, 5 Ks). LP: Evan Henderson (3 IP, 7 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 0 Ks).
Leading hitters: WLA — Austin Wright, 2×4; Justin Serwe, 1×3, 2B, 3 RBI; Ryan Boelk, 1×3, 2 RBI; Maustin Otterstatter, 2×3, RBI; Lucas Muche, 2×3. Springs — Eric Feldner, 2×4, HR, RBI.